With technology comes the ability to have unprecedented access to information through videos and applications on computers and smartphones, which has greatly reduced the time it takes to make decisions about safety-related issues. Questions that once required extensive research to answer can now be answered in a matter of seconds. For example, in the past, if you had an OSHA-related question, you would have to look through the OSHA manual to find the answer. Now, you can go online, type in a question and receive an answer immediately.
As this same technology is changing the way we interact with people and our environment, safety training is also evolving to meet the needs of the people coming into our industry. Effective training must possess both adaptable and interactive components for the challenging dynamics of the evolving workforce.
Throughout the years, the overall significance and culture of safety within the construction industry has increased exponentially. However, one of the biggest challenges we currently experience is meshing together safety training for both the aging workforce and incoming workforce. Experienced craft professionals who are accustomed to learning from books and worksheets must now train alongside a younger, more tech-savvy group of craft professionals who prefer to learn using mobile apps, interactive PowerPoint presentations and YouTube videos. This is why safety training today must combine an old-school, traditional vibe for seasoned workers with an attention-grabbing, interactive technology component for millennials. However, as more baby boomers exit the workforce, training processes will likely shift and technology will become even more of a driving force in how we deliver training. While more traditional methods of delivery will not go away entirely anytime soon, we must continue to evolve and adapt. It is important for instructors to recognize the needs of our incoming workforce and deliver training that works for them, which involves up-to-date technology.